Concrete and Convicts

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LOUISA COUNTY, iowa (KWQC) — What's in a name? There's a story behind that question in the small Louisa County community of Fredonia.

From sand to concrete. A century ago, the sand banks around Fredonia made roads impassable for many drivers.

So, the locals came up with money to build a concrete road. They had to borrow some of the money from banks.

In 1914, enter convicts. Convict labor was used to construct a concrete road. Six men at a time. It took three months to build the new road. The cost was thirty thousand dollars. One of the first concrete roads in the nation. It is a mile and a half in length and is still in decent condition.

The convicts lived in a camp near the Iowa River. Some became friends with the locals. The concrete road made travel much easier. A road going from the river, west through Fredonia, and connecting with Highway 92. From sand to concrete. A road less traveled. Surviving the test of time. Built with convict labor!